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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


R-29RM / SS-N-23 SKIFF

The R-29RM is a three-stage liquid-propellant missile capable carrying four or ten MIRV. In 1979 in KB Academician V.Makeev began work on the design of the new intercontinental range submarine-launched ballistic missile R-29RM RSM-54, 3M37) of the D-9RM launch systemo. In the task for its design was determined the task of creating the rocket with the intercontinental flying range, capable of striking small protected ground targets. The R-29RM was accepted for the armament the Navy in 1986. It is placed on the nuclear-powered submarines of the project of 667[BDRM] with the fire unit of 16 rockets.

The development of the complex was oriented to the achievement of maximal possible tactical-technical characteristics with small changes in the design of submarine. The posed problems were solved by the development of the original three-stage layout of the rocket with the integral propellant tanks, by the use of engines with the maximum characteristics, by an improvement in the technology of the production of rocket and characteristics of the materials used, by an increase in overall sizes and starting mass of rocket.

A significant number of systems of the new rocket were taken from the previous modification R-29R. This made it possible to decrease the cost of developing the new rocket and to reduce the period of development. New technical solutions realized in the rocket include:

  • the three-stage the schematic of the rocket, which has the limited overall sizes;
  • the equipment of rocket with the high-precision astroinertial system for control and frequency control along the navigation Earth satellites the systems "hurricane" substantially increased the accuracy of shooting;
  • the use of different types of the flight trajectories to the minimum and intermediate firing distance;
  • the arbitrary and variable in power engineering zone of separaring ["breeding"] combat blocks;
  • the conditions for the combat employment of rockets due to the use of a possibility of use from the high latitudes of the Arctic are extended.

The R-29RM incorporates a number of significant design changes relative to the predecessor R-29R. Compared to the R-29R the missile has a larger launch weight (40.3 to 35.5 Tons) providing a heavier payload (2800 kg to 1650 kg) to a greater maximum range (8300 to 8000 km).The new missile's length was increased only slightly, from 14.1 meters to 14.8 meters, allowing the overall dimensions of the launching tube to remain constant. The D-9RM launch system for the R-29RM missiles is based on the D-9R system.

Relative to the R-29R, the diameter of the R-29RM was increased from 1.8 meters to 1.9 meters, which allowed an increase in propellant loading. The diameter of rocket somewhat grew in comparison with R-29R, but in this case the diameter of the launch tubes on the submarine did not increase. The combat effectiveness in comparison with the R-29R grew noticeably. The conditions for the combat employment of rockets due to the possibility of use from the high latitudes of the Arctic were extended. The R-29RM was not inferior to the rockets of heavy RPK SN of Project 941. In this case its starting mass is less than half in comparison with R-39, with the identical firing range. Missile body is made all-welded from aluminum-magnesium alloy.

The engines of all three stages are located in the tanks. The sustainer liquid-propellant engines of two stages are "drowned" in the fuel missile tanks. The association of the engine installations of the third stGE and head part in the common assembling with the general tank system is the design feature of rocket. In the forward section of the rocket is placed instrument it cut off with the system of control, which includes equipment of the celestial correction of the flight trajectory according to the results of measuring the coordinates of navigation stars, equipment of frequency control according to the results of the exchange of information with the navigation Earth satellites and combat blocks.

Unlike the R-29 or R-29R, the propulsion system of the first stage has four control chambers. First-stage engine consists of two blocks: Basic (unilocular) and autopilot (four-chamber). Control forces along the channels of pitch, hunting and bank are ensured by the turning of the combustion chambers of steering block. The housing of the second step consists of the oxidizer tank, connected with the housing of first stage, and fuel tank, front bottom of which is executed in the form the conical niche, utilized for positioning of combat blocks and third-stage engine.

The second-stage engine of rocket unilocular, its basic aggregates are placed in the oxidizer tank of first stage, control forces along the channels of pitch and hunting are created by the turning of the combustion chamber, fixed in the gimbal suspension, and along the channel of bank - by block of bank.

Third-stage engine is unilocular. Control forces at the third step along all channels are created by the two-mode engine of breeding combat blocks, which works simultaneously with the third-stage engine. The third stage propulsion system and the post-boost vehicle propulsion system use the same fuel tanks. The warheads are placed in an internal cavity of the concave conical bottom of the upper tank of the second stage at the periphery of the sustainer of the third stage.

The START I Treaty Protocol on ICBM and SLBM Throw-Weight stated that "1. The throw-weight demonstrated in a flight test of an ICBM or SLBM shall be: (a) for an ICBM or SLBM the final stage of which executes a procedure for dispensing reentry vehicles, the aggregate weight of that stage including its propellant and elements not separated from the stage, at the time at which the first release of a reentry vehicle or penetration aid occurs, and its payload; (b) for an ICBM or SLBM that is not an ICBM or SLBM the final stage of which executes a procedure for dispensing reentry vehicles, the weight of the payload of the final stage or final stages."

According to the US statement for START I on the SS-N-23 SLBM on July 29, 1991 "Paragraph 1(a) of Section I of the Throw-weight Protocol describes the method for determining the throw-weight of ICBMs or SLBMs, the final stage of which executes a procedure for dispensing reentry vehicles. The U.S. side understood that this method for determining throw-weight was negotiated specifically to address design characteristics that are unique to the RSM-54 SLBM, known to the U.S. side as the SS-N-23. However, the Soviet side now asserts that the throw-weight of the SS-N-23 should be determined on the basis of the method described in paragraph 1(b) of the Throw-weight Protocol. The Soviet side also informed the U.S. side that the accountable throw-weight of the SS-N-23, 2800 kg, was determined on the basis of the 1(b) method. While the U.S. side believes the SS-N-23 is of 1(a), not 1(b), design; for purposes of calculating throw-weight, the U.S. side accepts the SS-N-23 as a type 1(b) SLBM. However, the U.S. side stresses that this acceptance is without prejudice to our right to contest in the Joint Compliance and Inspection Commission the throw-weight values of any new type of ICBM or SLBM or modified existing type of ICBM or SLBM that incorporates a design similar to the SS-N-23, if such throw-weight values are based on the 1(b) method."

According to the Soviet statement for START I on the SS-N-23 SLBM on July 29, 1991 "In connection with the U.S. Statement on the SLBM SS-N-23 (RSM-54) the Soviet side confirms that the throw-weight of that missile should be determined on the basis of the method described in paragraph 1(b) of Section I of the Throw-weight Protocol to the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, since in terms of its design the SLBM SS-N-23 does not belong to missiles, the final stage of which executes a procedure for dispensing reentry vehicles. In this connection, the Soviet side states that there is no ground for raising an issue related to determining the throw-weight pursuant to paragraph 1(a) of Section I of the Throw-weight Protocol for any new type of ICBM or SLBM or modified existing type of ICBM or SLBM that incorporated a design similar to the SLBM SS-N-23 (RSM-54)."

The separation of first and second, second and third stage is accomplished by a system of the detonating elongated charges. For jointing of rocket with the launcher the tail section of the rocket is supplied with power supporting [bandazhem] - by adapter. With the missile takeoff the adapter remains on the launching platform.

Flight tests were conducted according to the worked out diagram into three stages. A series of vehicle development launches using dummy rockets from a floating platform was conducted initially. Then began the joint flight tests of rockets from the ground stand. In this case are executed 16 launchings, from which 10 passed successfully. This was followed by submarine tests. In this final stage the submarine K-51 "XXVI of the Congress of CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union)" of the Project 667BDRM was used. Deployment of the D-9RM launch system began in 1986.

Missile complex D-9RM with the rocket R-29RM was accepted by the Navy in 1986. Seven Delta IV submarines were equipped with the D-9RM launch system. They carry 16 R-29RM missiles containing four warheads each. The R-29RM missiles carrying ten warheads were not deployed. Unlike previous versions of a family of 667, the boat project 667BDRM can launch missiles from any direction on the course of ship movements. Underwater launch could take place at depths of up to 55 meters at a speed of 6-7 knots. All 16 missiles can be launched in one salvo.

In 1988 the launch system was modernized providing improved accuracy, and for firing the missiles on depressed trajectories. At that time the missile was also equipped with improved warheads.

On August 6, 1991 at 21 hours 07 minutes a volley fire the complete fire unit of RSM-54 rockets from the submarine of the project 667BDRM was carried out the. In the interests of the reduction of expenditures the operation was conducted on the planned combat training of the crew of submarine and the regular flight only of two rockets. The rockets, which start in the volley of the first and last, had to run complete flight program and fall onto the assigned aiming points. The remaining rockets, which participate in the volley, had to from all parameters of launch completely correspond to combat missiles, but the height of their flight could be arbitrary. For conducting the volley by complete fire unit was isolated the submarine "Novomoskovsk" (commander of boat S.V. Yegorov) and 16 rockets RSM-54, prepared by the Krasnoyarsk Machine Building Plant. The launching passed successfully, and until then no one in the world had conducted a shoot of a complete fire unit. On June 5, 2001 a Project 667BDRM submarine of the northern fleet (commander - captain of 1st rank Mikhail Bannykh) conducted a successful launch of ballistic missile from the water area of Barents sea. The launching of rocket was produced from underwater. The warheads of the rocket struck intended target on the range in Kamchatka.

At the Thunder-2019 exercises, the Ryazan DELTA-III submarine was not able to launch an intercontinental missile. The K-44 Ryazan nuclear submarine of project 667BDR Kalmar was added to the list of ships of the USSR Navy in January 1979, that is, it has already celebrated its 40th anniversary. This is the last submarine of this project, which is in service.

The Ministry of Defense said the launch was deliberately canceled, but still for technical reasons. According to experts, both the rocket and the submarine are old, so the launch problems do not surprise anyone. During the strategic exercises during the launch of two R-29R intercontinental ballistic missiles, the K-44 Ryazan submarine did not leave one of the launchers. The Vedomosti newspaper was the first to report this. Vesti, citing an anonymous source close to the defense ministry, said the reason could be a failure in the launch control system for the submarine.

The Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed that one of the missiles was not launched, but emphasized that this was a conscious decision by the command. "Having evaluated the information on the technical condition of one of the Ryazan submarine’s rockets, received just before launch, it was decided not to use it in a training strike. Canceling the launch of this rocket didn’t affect the successful results of the Grom school,” the MO press service said.

In addition, the Russian military argues that the technical condition of the intercontinental ballistic missile, which did not allow it to be launched, cannot be considered a failure. “The purpose of the exercise was to verify the combat control system of the Russian Armed Forces, and not the ability to launch the maximum number of missiles. All the tasks provided during the strategic containment exercises were completed in full, the missiles reached specified ranges, hitting conditional targets and confirming the specified characteristics ", the message said.




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